8th Nov 2018
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You reveal what makes your retirement tick – or not
Author: Olga Galacho
Is retirement paradise or hell?

In YourLifeChoices’ 2018 Retirement Matters Survey, we asked you to describe the best aspects of your retirement. Overwhelmingly, members spoke about the freedom of not having to march to anyone else’s drum and the extra time available to spend with family, especially grandchildren.

The ability to do volunteering or charity work was also a popular response.

It shows what big hearts YourLifeChoices members have, that even though they have hung up their hats after decades of toiling, they still believe they have more to contribute to society – with no expectation to be financially rewarded for their efforts.

Clearly, the satisfaction that volunteers derive from helping those in need and good causes generally is a major factor contributing to a sense of fulfilment, a sense of being useful and appreciated.

Unfortunately, some respondents felt miserable in their retirement years. By and large, they felt that they had been chewed up and spat out by the system. Some had been forced to retire to care for elderly parents or sick partners. This had clearly diminished their enjoyment of life, according to their accounts.

More than 4000 YourLifeChoices members offered their perspectives on retirement. Here are a few that caught our attention:

The freedom to choose what one does with one’s days. The opportunity to put some time back into the community that supports us all. The opportunity to try new things and not have to please others all the time. If they don’t like me or what I do, I have the freedom to walk away.

To be able to do what you want, when you want to … golf, working on my classic car, lunch with my wife.

My time, making choices about what is important in life, being focused, exchanging learning, contributing and sharing life experiences, having time to do it.

Not having to answer to a capitalistic boss.

Being able to travel on last-minute bargains.

Not to feel pressured to perform impossible feats on a daily basis at work.

Being able to do what you want when you want without the boss saying “No”.

Having time to do more art. There are a lot of online courses to do.

The best aspect is being able to stay fit as I never had time to visit a gym while working.

Being able to sleep in if I had a bad night’s sleep.

Not having to travel to work through traffic each day.

Enjoying life in my paradise.

For the lucky person who describes their life as utopian, we are so glad for you. But spare a thought for those who are struggling in retirement. For instance:

I was forced into retirement as a carer for my husband and so I don’t have much choice.

I really cannot think of any. I am a first generation Australian. I have no inheritances to support me and, in fact, supported my mother until her demise at 96. So, losing my job came as a huge shock to me and I have little to look forward to.

Retirement on a full pension means to live frugally … so many things are overpriced for pensioners.

Nothing. I’d rather die than be living at my age. I’ve had a good life, but I’ve got nothing to offer but memories.

Can you recommend to our more unfortunate retirees ways in which they could improve the quality of their lives and lift their perspectives into a better place?

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    COMMENTS

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    KB
    8th Nov 2018
    2:57pm
    Try to find the positive in each day. Look for free activities to do each day such as going for a walk. If you like reading then join the library. It is free and you can also borrow DVDs from the library if you cannot afford Netflix etc. You can still enjoy life on a frugal budget
    Triss
    8th Nov 2018
    5:05pm
    I agree with you, KB, the library is a good place to start. Often they have a book club where you’ll have new people to meet and talk to.
    Look up Meet Ups to see if there are any near you that would interest you...walking, language, meeting for coffee, etc.
    Any writing groups near you, volunteering, even if it’s only serving in an op shop, there will be people like you to have a coffee with and chat to and get out of your own four walls.
    patti
    8th Nov 2018
    3:17pm
    My only income is the age pension. I struggled a lot with finances, but realised that the most important things in life have little to do with money. Nature, family and friends, and the ability to set my own time schedule and agenda. While I was still paying a mortgage it was hard.....for the last year I have been mortgage free and it helps so much. I am able to have occasional outings and treats. It is amazing how little we really need. I spent time in Bali and people there had so little, yet seemed very happy.
    Cheezil61
    8th Nov 2018
    6:06pm
    OMG you all make me envious; can't wait for my turn for all this positive stuff! Not much negativity in this article!
    Paddington
    8th Nov 2018
    9:10pm
    Family is a big part of being happy. If you have loved ones and company you are rich indeed. Celebrate what you do have and dump the rest. You are alive and that alone is a gift in your seventies. Time is a gift when you are old that you never had as a worker. Read, play games, compose, etc. .... enjoy the little things!


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